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downsmail.co.uk Beer care for stroke patients


MAIDSTONE and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust is reporting ”encouraging” improvement in treating strokes, with Maidstone continuing as the top stroke unit in North and West Kent.


Latest data shows 55% of patients


were scanned within an hour at Tun- bridge Wells and 33% in Maidstone. The data for 12 hours was 86% for Tunbridge Wells and 89% for Maid- stone.


The trust says there was a “tremendous improvement” at Maidstone, which was given an A rating for October-December com- pared with a previous D rating. But both hospitals were given D ratings for thrombolysis because they did not hit the 11.1% national average.


Maidstone admitted 44.4% of pa- tients to the stroke unit within four hours and Tunbridge Wells 27.3%. In the first three months of this year Maidstone was above the national average but Tunbridge Wells was below. In April specialist assessments by a physician were completed within 24 hours in 69% of cases in Maid- stone and 68.2% in Tunbridge Wells. Figures for the quarter were 73.5% and 76.5%.


Stroke is the third biggest killer in


Incident app AN app on hand-held devices for


reporting incidents has been intro- duced by Maidstone and Tun- bridge Wells NHS Trust as a safety measure for staff.


Nurses and junior doctors are among the first wave of clinical staff at the trust to also be equipped with devices to record a patient’s vital signs and have remote onsite access to these at any time. The move follows a successful


ward trial and is being rolled out on all wards during the summer. The benefits are widespread and hospitals using this technology are seeing a marked improvement in patient outcomes.


Not so happy AN annual drop of 2.4% has been


recorded in the percentage of pa- tients who report their experience with GP services in Maidstone and the rest of West Kent as “very good” or “fairly good”, taking the current 86.6% further from the 93% standard. West Kent is above aver- age for Kent and Medway and the national average of 84%.


THE NHS West Kent Clinical Com- missioning Group is updating its bullying and harassment policy fol- lowing a staff survey and will en- sure employees are more fully aware of the processes and support provided.


28 Malling August 2015 By Dennis Fowle


the UK and a major cause of long- term disability. People who have had a stroke need rapid access to a specialist medical team around the clock to maximise their chances of survival and recovery.


NHS clinical commissioning groups across Kent and Medway, which plan and buy local health services, are reviewing how stroke patients are managed within the vital first 72 hours. In West Kent, Maidstone and Tun- bridge Wells NHS Trust and NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have already under- taken work with Healthwatch Kent,


residents and patients to look at peo- ple’s views of stroke services. This found: There is public support for new higher standards of care covering the critical first 72 hours of a stroke patient’s care and a need for the NHS to develop ways of achieving these. The NHS needs to improve the whole of the stroke patient’s pathway, including the care stroke patients receive out of hospital. The NHS needs to improve the information and support available to patients and carers after a stroke. Quality needs to be maintained within a timeframe that provides maximum opportunities of recovery for patients. The NHS needs to improve plan- ning about how and when a stroke patient can leave hospital and the next steps in their rehabilitation. Now NHS West Kent CCG, as part of the Kent and Medway-wide re- view, wants to build on what has been heard so far by asking local people what they think of the Kent


and Medway picture of stroke care, and what would be important to them if they had just had a stroke. The focus in this next round of dis- cussions is on the care provided across Kent and Medway in the first 72 hours following a stroke and what might make it possible for the NHS to meet in full the national standards for care in this vital pe- riod.


A report to West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group says the stroke service provided in Kent does not meet recognised quality stan- dards set out in the National Stroke Strategy (2007).


The group says there is difficulty recruiting specialist staff. A key problem is that consultant numbers are about 50% of the recommended level. There were problems, too, re- lating to nurses and therapists. A Case for Change is currently being considered for approval across Kent and Medway. The public and stakeholders will be involved and people who have experienced stroke services will be sought out.


Wards combined to improve service


WORK has started on the next phase of ward redevelopment at Maidstone Hospital with the £3m transformation of Jonathan Saun- ders and John Day wards into a new respiratoryward. This latest scheme combines the


wards into one large dedicated res- piratoryward with better facilities, improving privacy, dignity and comfort for patients. Patients will be treated in new


four-bedded bays with en suite conveniences rather than the hos- pital’s older six-bedded bays, which have no en suite conven- iences. Other schemes that have recently


been completed at Maidstone Hos- pital include the following:  Extended and developed the hospital’s admissions lounge to provide more privacy, dignity and comfort for patients.


GPs’ concern at reports delay INCREASING concerns about delays in receiving diagnostic reports


from Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells hospitals have been reported by GP members of West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group. GPs (and patients) require speedy reports on CT and MRI scans and the group continues to voice concern “about time to report, work out- sourced and governance/consent in place”. Now the group has written formally to Maidstone and Tunbridge


Wells Trust and the trust has been asked to report in person at a per- formance meeting. The group has requested a further report covering X-rays and ultrasound.


The problems lead to delays in GPs recommending to patients re- quired treatments – and frustrations for patients who are unable to make GP appointments until they know their report is in hand.


Bullying policy Nursing shortages increase


MAIDSTONE and Tunbridge Wells Trust is reporting nurse vacancies across all directorates. In May vacancies rose to 12.3%, compared with last year’s 8.6%. Recruitment has been successful from Italy (13 new nurses) and 33


new starters commenced work in May/June. The trust is attempting to improve recruitment through so- cial media, website and adverts. One impact has been an increase in the nursing and medical agency spend.


 Improved the facilities within the main entrance with a new brighter main reception area, new shops for Maidstone Hospital League of Friends and a new cof- fee shop. Way-finding has also been improved in the hospital.  Improved facilities for women’s colposcopy services.  Opened a new 12-bedded unit for the elderly and frail.


Speeding up


appointments SUE Southon (pictured), lay mem- ber for patient and public en- gagement, reported to the Clinical Strategy Group of West Kent CCG that there was often a public misconception that it was diffi- cult to get a GP appointment and


she said this should be challenged. Dr Bob Bowes, chairman of


West Kent CCG, said there was variation between practices. He felt practice participation groups could investigate changes to im- prove a practice system. For information about your GP


practice go to www.nhs.uk/service- search/gp/locationsearch/4


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